Strike Anywhere [I]Exit English[/I] Review

"Upon listening to Exit English, the thing that sticks out most to long time fans is the rather
dramatic slowing down of their sound. This is a well worn path by myriad hardcore bands before
them but it always stings a little when you hear a band start to sound "mature". You want a
hardcore band to be a hardcore band otherwise you’d put a different record on but before you
write these guys off as a flash in the pan hear me out.

It’s clear on this album and their debut record that these guys are talented musicians. As in the
past, the songs on here are tight as hell but what’s clear on this record is that they can write
compelling melodic riffs with the best of them. They also employ a slightly different tack than a lot
of melodic hardcore bands. Rather than try to add melody to the speedier parts they tend to keep
them fairly distinct. So you’ll hear the blazing double time riffs segue into a slower, more melodic
part or they’ll start a song with a slower tempo only to bust out the four to the floor hardcore. This
is an interesting approach as it keeps a clearer tie to their previous work but allows them to
expand the songs with new melodic elements.

The other area they’ve also added more melody is in the vocals department. They don’t pull this
off quite as well because this guy is really a screamer at heart which is probably why he joined a
hardcore band to begin with. At slower speeds he’s really missing the passion and anger that
turn many of their faster songs from good to great. This is probably the biggest drawback of this
record as opposed to their last record but it’s not a show stopper in my book.

While I prefer their speedier cuts, I can’t deny that some of the more melodic parts are not
extremely effective. You can see this most clearly on their opening combo cut "Amplify"/"Blaze",
and later songs like "Aluminum Union" and "Extinguish". The melodic parts ultimately made
these better songs than they would have been had they relied solely on their previous
songwriting approach. So while I do mourn the loss of their undiluted hardcore attack I have to
admit that these set of songs are more unique, better written and will probably outshine their
debut as time goes on.

I’m assuming this more accessible approach has made this band blacklisted by some people in
the hardcore scene but I think these guys have the talent and songwriting chops to continue
successfully down this path."

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